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The walruses are characterized by their thick, heavy form, the absence of external ears, the development of the canine teeth into enormous tusks, and the correlated great expansion of the facial portion of the skull. The hind feet are capable of being turned forward to aid in terrestrial locomotion.
The two existing species of walrus constitute the genus Odobenus Briss. (Trichechus of many authors; not of Linnæus, 1758). There are several extinct forms, usually referred to other genera. The existing walruses are now Arctic in distribution, although formerly their habits extended much further south than at present. 1. ATLANTIC WALRUS. Odobenus rosmarus (Linn.).—The Atlantic
walrus greatly resembles the Pacific walrus (0.obesus),
externally, but the front of the head is much narrower and less deep, and the tusks are shorter and more divergent, resulting in a very different facial expression. The essential differences are in the cranial characters, where the differences are strongly pronounced. At the close of the glacial period the Atlantic walrus ranged as far
south, on the eastern coast of North America, as VirHistory.
ginia, and as late as the middle of the sixteenth century was abundant off the coast of Nova Scotia. In Charlevoix's time there was an extensive walrus fishery at Sable Island. During the latter part of the eighteenth century they were hunted extensively at the Magdalen and other islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, where as many as fifteen or sixteen hundred were sometimes killed in a single onslaught. Through wholesale destruction for their oil, hides, and tusks they were speedily exterminated south of Labrador. They are
now rarely met with south of Hudson Bay, Davis Strait, and the coast of Greenland; more to the north
ward they still exist, but only in comparatively small numbers. They have been found as far north as explorers have penetrated. On the coast of Europe the walrus has occurred within historic
times as far south as Scotland, and strayed to the Orkneys as late as 1857. There is good evidence that it
also regularly frequented, two or three centuries ago, the coast of Finmark. It ranged thence eastward on the Siberian coast as far as the mouth of the Yenesei River. Its principal places of resort, however, were Spitzbergen, Nova Zembla, and the smaller islands
of the Arctic Sea. In this region the walrus has been Relentless hunting relentlessly hunted for its commercial products since
the beginning of the seventeenth century. During the early part of this century (1603 to 1612) thousands were killed annually by English seamen for their oil and tusks, first at Cherrie Island, and later at Spitzbergen. The slaughter was continued by the Dutch, Danes, and Spaniards till too few were left to render the pursuit
of them longer profitable, the whale fishery then supplanting walrus hunting. The persecution of the walrus, however, continued as opportunity
favored, either for its commercial products or for sport, Extermination im until its extermination in these waters has seemed only minent.
a question of time. Prof. Alfred Newton, writing in 1864, said: “Now they are hemmed in by the packed ice of the Polar
The Walrus northern Europe.
of the Walrus.
Sea on the one side and their merciless enemies on the other. The result can not admit of any doubt.
Its numbers are apparently decreasing with woeful rapidity. The time is certainly not very far distant when the Trichechus rosmarus will be as extinct in the Spitzbergen seas as Rhytina gigas (Steller's sea-cow) is in those of Bering's Straits." (Proc. Zool. Soc., London, 1864, p. 500.)
As late as 1875 about a dozen sailing vessels were engaged regularly in hunting the walrus between Cape Kanine and the mouth of the Kara River. (Rep. U. S. Commis. F'ish and Fisheries, Pt. III, 1876, p. 56.) The Norwegian sealers and whalers have continued the slaughter as opportunity favored, the catch in the Jan Mayen seas,
Jan Mayen Seas. . from 1878 to 1884, averaging about 430 walruses per year. (Bull. U. S. Fish Commission, VI, 1886, p. 272.
According to Mr. Thomas Southwell's annual Notes on the (British) Seal and Whale Fishery," published in the Zoologist, 1883 to 1892, Walrus hunting is still incidentally carried on by the whalers in Davis Straits and Cumberland Gulf. In his account of the season of 1885 he states that “ about one hundred and ninety walrus ” were killed by the Davis Strait whalers. Respecting the status of the Atlantic Walrus at this date, he makes the following interesting statements: “ The Greenland vessels rarely meet with the walrus, as it is pretty well exterminated at Spitzbergen by the Norwegians; an occasional solitary individual, however, which has become carnivorous and wandered far from his native shore in search of seals, is sometimes met with far out at sea. At Franz Josef Land, according to Mr. Leigh Smith, they are very numerous, and I am also informed that in Frobisher Straits they are still plentiful; moreover, on both shores of Davis Straits, owing to the whalers being in too great a hurry to reach the north water to stop to hunt them systematically, they are still abundant." (Southwell, Zoologist, 1886, pp. 101, 102.) He reports the capture of 320 walruses by the Greenland whalers in 1886; about 500 in 1887, 311 in 1888, 312 in 1889, 90 in 1890, and 215 in 1891.
2. PACIFIC WALRUS. Odobenus obesus (Ill.).—The home of the Pacitic walrus is the islands and coasts of Bering and the Arctic seas. It formerly occurred in considerable numbers as far south as the Aleutian chain, and probably passed, at times, somewhat to the southward of these islands. It was once abundant at the Pribilof Islands, and at St. Mathews, St. Lawrence, Nunivak, Diomede, and other islands in Bering Sea, and on the Alaskan coast at Kotzebue and Norton sounds, Bristol Bay, and eastward to Point Barrow. On the eastern and northern coasts of Asia it formerly ranged from Karaginskoi Island, in about latitude 600, thence north ward and westward to about the mouth of the Kolyma River.
The walrus has always been an important animal to the natives of the coasts it frequented, by whom many were annually killed for their flesh, hides, and tusks, the flesh being used for food, the skins for covering their summer habitations, for planking their baidarkas, for harness for their dog teams and lines for their fishing gear, and the tusks for various implements and for purposes of trade. (Scammon, Marine Mammalia, p. 180.) They, however, killed so few as not to seriously decrease their numbers. As late as 1821 herds embracing thousands of in lividuals, it is reported on good authority, were seen in Bering Sea. Walrus in Bering According to Captain Scammon, as late as 1873, “ in Sea and on the Aus numerable herds still resort in the summer months to different points on the southern or central coasts of Alaska, particularly
Uses of Walrus.
at Amak Island and Point Moller, on the northern shore of the Alaskan peninsula.” (Marine Mammalia, p. 180.) In 1868 the Pacific walrus began to attract the cupidity of the whalers, and during the following five years it is estimated that they destroyed 60,000 in Bering Sea and the Arctic Ocean for their oil and tusks. Between the years 1870 and 1850 there were brought to market 1,996,000 gallons of oil and 398,868 pounds of Walrus ivory, these amounts representing the destruction of not far from 100,000 animals.” (Frederic A. Lucas, Report U. S. National Museum, 1888-'89, p. 620.) “ If the whalers reach Bering Strait before the ice breaks up
they remain on the coast and often hunt the walrus for Hunting the Walrus.
weeks together, with startling and serious results. Last year's campaign was considered successful, as about 11,000 wal. ruses were secured, most of them within the Arctic Sea. But to attain
this result between 30,000 and 40,000 animals were killed, Wasteful killing,
so that only one-third of the number destroyed were actually utilized. There can be no doubt as to the ultimate consequences of such glaring improvidence, but last year they were so painfully apparent as to touch even the hard hearts of those who occasioned them. Not that the whalers were moved to compassion by the victims themselves, but by the sufferings of the human beings who were de
prived of their chief source of subsistence. The hardy Used by natives as tribes in the neighborhood of Bering Strait literally food.
can not exist without the walrus, and so long as they were its only human enemies the number destroyed was inconsiderable. But the herds soon dwindled under the superior weapons and appliances of civilized nations and the survivors retreated, like the whales, towards the pole. By the end of last seasou not a single walrus was
left on the coast, and the immediate result was such a Famine among natives caused by de terrible famine among the natives that the whalers struction of Walrus. themselves speak of it remorsefully. The population south of St. Lawrence Bay has been reduced one-third, and in a village which formerly counted two hundred inhabitants only one man survived. Several of the whalers have consequently refused to take any part in future walrus hunts on the coast. They assert that for every hundred animals killed a native family must perish by starvation, and they will not incur so heavy a responsibility." (London Field, March 28, 1880, p. 381. See also Allen, North American Pinnipeds, pp. 768, 769.)
The eared-seals may be distinguished externally by the possession of small, varrow, pointed, external ears, a slender form, lengthened neck, and hind limbs capable of being turned forward and used in terrestrial locomotion. They also differ from the walruses on the one hand and the seals proper on the other in important cranial and skeleton characters. The eared-seals are confined mainly to the islands and coasts of the
southern oceans and the North Pacific. None oocur Confined to southern oceans and North in the Atlantic north of the thirtieth parallel of south Pacific
latitude. They are polygamous, and resort to the land Habits of Eared to breed, where they spend almost continuously about Seals.
one-third of the year. During tue breeding season the old males gather about them a considerable number of females, which
Sea Lions and FurSeals.
they jealously guard from their rivals, and over which for many weeks they exercise tyrannical jurisdiction. The young eared-seals pass the first six or eight weeks of their lives wholly on the land, and at first enter the water reluctantly, being taught to swim by their mothers. A very young seal if placed in the water and left to itself will quickly drown.
The eared-seals fall into two groups, one of which includes the sealions and the other the fur-seals, or " sea-bears” of the early writers. In the sea-lions the pelage is harsh and without under fur, and their skins possess small commercial value, being useful only for the preparation of a poor quality of leather. They are, however, very fat, and consequently immense numbers have been killed for their oil. Their products are thus similar to those of the seals proper.
The fur-seals have a very soft pelage, with abundant under fur, forming the well-known seal fur of commerce. These animals have been incessantly hunted for their skins Indiscriminate hunt
. for a century. So indiscriminate and relentless has been the slaughter that, with the exception of a few small rookeries which have received governmental protection, the fur-seals of the southern hemisphere have been for many years practically exterminated. (See part II of this paper entitled “ Fur-seal Hunting in the Southern Hemisphere" post.)
Authorities differ greatly as to the number of species of eared-seals, owing to the scarcity of specimens in natural history museums. Although so many millions have been killed Species of Eared for commercial purposes, there is not a good series of specimens of these animals in any scientific museum. The following list of genera and species is probably sufficiently accurate for use in the present connection. Commercially they are all fur-seals, although the size of the animal and the quality of the fur varies more or less at different localities.
Section 1.-EARED HAIR-SEALS OR SEA-LIONS (Tricho
1.-Genus OTARIA Péron.
1. SOUTHERN SEA-Lion Otaria jubala (Forst).
Habitat: Galapagos Islands and coasts of South America, from Peru and the Rio de la Plata southward; Tierra del Fuego and Falkland Islands, etc.
Formerly abundant and extensively hunted for its oil. Now so reduced in numbers as to be of little commercial importance.
II.-Genus PHOCARCTOS Peters.
2. AUCKLAND SEA-LION Phocarctos hookeri (Gray).
Habitat: Auckland Islands.
Little is known of this rare species, which was probably once com mon at the islands to the eastward and south ward of New Zealand,
III.-Genus EUMETOPIAS Gill.
3. STELLER'S SEA-Lion Eumetopias stelleri (Peters).
Habitat : Shores and islands of the North Pacific, from Bering Strait southward to California and Japan. Formerly (eighteenth century) abundant along the coast of Kam.
chatka, from the Kurile Islands northward. There is Stellar's Sea-Lion.
still a small colony at the Farallon Islands, off the coast of California, and other considerable colonies at the Pribilof, Commander, and other small islands in Bering Sea. It is also found in greater or less numbers in some of the Aleutian Islands, and at a few points on the Alaskan coast, principally of the Aleutian chain.
It has at present no commercial value, and is killed chiefly by the natives of the coast and islands of Bering Sea, to whom it is of great service, every part being utilized, either for food, clothing, or implements.
IV.-Genus ZALOPHUS Gill.
4. CALIFORNIA SEA-LION Zalophus californianus (Lesson).
Habitat: Coast and islands of California, from lower California, about latitude 230 north to San Francisco.
This species was extensively hunted for its oil during the first half of the present century, in consequence of which its numbers became greatly reduced. It is now not much molested, as it yields no commercial products of value. This is the sea lio: commonly seen in zoological gardens and menageries.
5. GRAY SEA-LION. Zalophus cinereus (Péron).
Habitat: Coast and islands of New Zealand and Australia; perhaps sparingly northward to Japan.
During the first half of this century this species was extensively hunted for its oil, the pursuit ceasing only when the animals became so reduced in numbers as to render the business no longer profitable.
Section II.-FUR-SEALS (Ouliphocacæ).
V.-Genus CALLORHINUS Gray.
6. NORTHERN FU'R-SEAL Callorhinus ursinus (Linn.).
Habitat: The Islands in Bering Sea; at present chiefly the Pribilof and Commander Islands, migrating southward in winter along the American coast to California, and along the Asiatic coast to the Kurile Islands. This is the species so well known as the source of the sealing in
dustry at the Pribilof and Commander Islands in BePribilof and Com
ring Sea. Although millions of fur-seals have been mander islands.
killed here during the last hundred years, the killing has been, for the most part, conducted under restrictions imposed by
the Russian and the United States governments, with Protection by Rus. sia and United States.
a view to securing the permanent preservation and productiveness of the herds. Of late, however, the lierds